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Super Typhoon Mangkhut

POSTED ON Sep 19, 2018 by Bruce Enemark

Super Typhoon Mangkhut came with fury and whipped over the northern end of Luzon Island in the Philippines Friday and Saturday of last week. To cities and villages in northern Philippines, it’s every bit as real as Hurricane Florence in the USA. And it was stronger, bringing possible devastation of homes and crops in its path.

Missionary pilot’s wife Jane Keller said it was like going through “the heavy wash cycle” for four hours. When the worst was over, she took stock:

“We’re OK! We still have our roof! All our tribal missionaries have checked in and are safe.”

Her husband, pilot Zach Keller, checked on the helicopter as soon as he could. The hangar doors had held! “The helicopter was untouched. Thank you, Lord! … Now we are able to get help to the hard to reach areas along the coast.”

Here is an account from one family of missionaries (Donovan and Charla Epp) who went through the storm.

After flying out of the Agta village, we prepared for the approaching storm here in the supply center for Northern Luzon. The typhoon hit ... early Saturday morning [Philippine time]. It is a crazy scary thing to experience. The typhoon is so loud, the wind and the rain. The debris flying around hitting buildings. Metal roofing flapping and creaking. We had a few window panes break, and a couple shutters fly open in the night. We did not get much sleep, but the kids did however finally find rest in the early morning. However, the house we were staying in stood strong. For most of the day on Saturday, the wind stayed quite strong, but we were able to assess the damage to the neighborhood, as well as later in the evening go for a drive around town. Everywhere you look is debris, roofing material, tree branches and whole trees. In town, signs are down, large glass windows on businesses busted up and everyone out beginning the cleanup. As a whole, the city was more prepared this time for the typhoon. We are still out of electricity, but the cell towers are still working, and stores were already open today (Sunday).

We also praise the Lord that the hanger and the helicopter were kept safe. We were able today (Sunday) to fly out to the village where we live. It was heartbreaking to see the damage even from the air. However, we are so thankful to report that there was no injuries or deaths. This is such an answer to our prayers. Thank you for standing with us in prayer for the community. We were beyond thankful to see our friends and neighbors, give hugs and hear about the typhoon.

They said it was terrifying and was scarier to live through than the last super typhoon that hit two years ago. Most of the community hid in the cement buildings. However, some of the Agta stayed in their houses, and one family decided to go up to their rice fields for the storm. They hid under a tarp!  I can’t even imagine.

The typhoon did a lot of damage to the area. Most of the cement houses in the area seemed to do ok, even keeping their roofs. Other houses lost roofs, some left in piles, others were completely blown away. …  The school down the coast lost the majority of its roof.

We were only able to be on the ground for a short time before the helicopter needed to take off again to return with us to the supply center. I’m sure we will hear more stories and understand more fully in the days to come the toll that Typhoon Mangkhut took on the village. We do know that with the damage to the rice crops, food is a present need, but also a future worry. We hope to fly in a few sacks of rice on our next flight to the village where we live.

Already, Zach, in conjunction with MAF and Wings Above, has surveyed the damage to houses and crops in the villages where Ethnos360 works. Lots of devastation! “How is it even possible no one was hurt? We thank the Lord for protecting these precious lives,” wrote Jane.

Now the team will work together to maximize efforts to fly food, basic supplies, and building materials to smaller villages that may be overlooked. “The days ahead are going to be full on so please pray for endurance and wisdom for our support team as we work through all the logistics,” wrote Jane.

Thanks again for your prayers. Keep praying that Christ’s love will be evident as Ethnos360 Aviation begins the longer effort of helping to rebuild after the storm. You can put hands and feet to your prayers by contributing to the disaster relief fund – ensuring that everyone who needs help will get help. Thank you to those of you who have already given to the relief fund in the past. In the past, we have seen the tremendous impact that relief flying has for the name of Christ. You can be a part!